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McHenry, Brown spar over leadership, health care
Thursday, 01 November 2018 22:53
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In the race for the 10th Congressional District seat, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-Gastonia, and his Democratic challenger David Wilson Brown clashed over issues in the Oct. 23 finale of the election debate series hosted by the Council of Independent Business Owners 

Among topics that drew the debate’s biggest focus — with Brown generally acting as the aggressor — were House leadership, tax cuts, the environment and health care.

Nonetheless, McHenry, who as deputy majority whip is a member of the House’s Republican leadership team, did question Brown vigorously on his support for Medicare for all and for his opposition to President Donald J. Trump.

McHenry said he would suppport House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California to lead the House if the GOP remains in control of it, while Brown said he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, asserting, “We need new leadership across both parties, more focused on the middle class” — instead of the status quo of both parties favoring large corporations.

About 140 people attended the CIBO Power Lunch at Highland Brewery in East Asheville. The 10th District include most of Asheville.

While McHenry has served in the House since Jan 4, 2005, Brown is an information technology consultant from Gaston County. The district stretches from Asheville to Charlotte’s western suburbs

At one point in the debate, Brown said McHenry should apologize for a campaign email in which Brown said the congressman “claimed I was hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi, and honestly, I’ve never met the woman. I’ve never had conversation with her staff

“You certainly were not telling the truth on that one,” Brown told McHenry

In response, McHenry said that if Democrats gain a majority in the House, the Democratic House members will have to choose between McCarthy, a Republican; and Pelosi, a Democrat, for speaker of the House

As for Pelosi, McHenry added, “She ain’t going nowhere. She’s going to stick around.

Persisting, Brown again asked McHenry if he would apologize for saying Pelosi had chosen him to run

“Was it an insult to you?” McHenry queried

“Yeah, it was,” Brown replied. “It’s not true. I think the people of this district are ready for politicans that tell the truth and don’t try to make up lies to smear their opponent.

McHenry did not respond

Regarding President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to date, Brown said, “I think it’s been disastrous… Especially when the ultimate effect is a president who doesn’t understand basic economics.”

On the question of whether ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) be disbanded, Brown said, “We need stronger police forces in our community.”

Yet, added, “If illegal immigration is really the threat it’s been made out to be, if we really have a problem, we’d go after it with bigger fines and more vigorous prosecutions. At all levels of our society, we benefit from having a diversity of workers.

McHenry then said, “I voted to reauthorize ICE last year… So the absurdity about the ‘Abolish ICE’ movement is” hard to take.  “Let’s enforce our custom laws. It’s a bigger movement by the anti-law enforcement left” than many realaize” to do away with ICE. “I think it’s horrible.

Regarding the caravan of refugees en route through Mexico to the U.S.’ southern border, the candidates were asked if they “stop them or what?

McHenry replied, “I would stop them. I’ve voted for the president’s wall. I’d vote for enforcement of our southern border. I’d vote for more enforcement of our northern border. We need to know who comes into our country.

Brown replied, “There’s no question that we should not let them (the caravan) pass.  There’s this threat of these people coming through. The idea that there’s some threat to America is a bit overboard. Don’t let the fear-mongering” set the agenda, he warned

“This is about people who love who we are and want to have the kind of life” that the U.S. offers, Brown said. “America is great — that’s why people want to come here.

On the issue of fossil fuels, Brown said, “We need to move off of fossil fuels. If we don’t, then we are dooming future generations. That’s immoral… We’re almost at the point of no return. It’s about survivability of the human race. And we can do it in a logical way. There are ways to invest to make real change."

McHenry asserted, “I’m proud to be a champion of the solar industry. North Carolina is second biggest solar producer in the U.S.

“On this day, we have a plentiful supply of natural gas. We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. It’s the result of hydraulic fracturing. We also have to recognize that natural gas is part of our future. That’s why infrastructure matters for our pipelines

“Think of the coldest day in Asheville. So solar is not the total answer. We need natural gas, wind” and other alternatives.

“My work, though, and focus, has been enhancing alternative energy sources, like solar, natural gas” and other options, McHenry said

In a segment of the debate when each candidates was allowed to ask his opponent a question, McHenry asked Brown of his assertion  in a recent forum where “you said you can’t think of one thing President Trump has done. I was in the Oval Office when president brought the Black Mountain minister (Andrew Brunson) home from Turkey. The president also passed tax relief. So I would ask you…. Really?

“Most of the things he has mentioned any president would have done,” Brown replied. “I certainly think it was a good thing that he brought Andrew Brunson home...

“If we do not make sure that our middle class is very strong, you won’t have people to buy our goods or services. What they didn’t do when they lowered that tax rate is they didn’t eliminate loopholes, putting the burden on middle-class taxpayers to cover that huge burden because trickle-down doesn’t work.”

To the contrary, McHenry said, “If you look at small businesses in North Carolina, we did eliminate those loopholes. If you looked without a partisan lens, you’d see it’s having a strong impact.

Further, McHenry asserted, “I also think it’s interesting that you (Brown) never answered the question of whether there’s a single thing that President Trump has done that you agree with.

After a pause, Brown said, “Releasing Andrew Brunson was a good thing.”

In turn, Brown asked McHenry, “What is your plan to replace health care and keep pre-conditions?

“Thanks for asking,” McHenry replied. “I think it’s important we let businesses or other band together, to go across state lines

“Can you find online a price for a hospital or a health care provider? No. So let’s have price disclosure. Price competition and across state lines,” McHenry said. “But the current system of Obamacare is an absolute disaster. Let’s look at the current system and see the flaws, let’s step back and make changes in a bipartisan way” and provide a better system

“And for those with pre-existing conditions, we have a better solution,” McHenry said.



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